I first heard about Dr. Steven King and his practice, Ravenna Homeopathic Clinic, while seeing a patient as a student clinician at Bastyr. The patient mentioned their daughter had received a homeopathic remedy from Dr. King that cured her allergies. She thought that it might have just been the sheer presence of the doctor, and not the homeopathy that did the curing. I was intrigued and sought out Dr. King for an interview. After a few emails and phone calls over a period of about a month we had a date and time for the interview set. I showed up to his office on an unseasonably warm evening in Seattle with my recorder and after a wait while he finished with his last patient, we shook hands, exchanged greetings, and went into his office where the interview took place.

We both thought the interview would only be an hour, but it was such a good conversation that it went for 2 hours. The second part of the interview, which will be posted next week, deals with his approach to homeopathy. Look for it next week.

In this podcast we talk about lessons and stories from Dr. King’s 30+ years of experience. Dr. King graduated from NCNM in 1982, and has been in practice in the Seattle area with his wife since that time.

Some of my favorite parts of the interview:

I learned that NCNM used to send people to Wichita, Kansas for the first two years of the basic sciences naturopathic (ND) curriculum. They were sent to Newman College (now Newman University) and were taught by nuns!

Lessons on the art of observation: trust your gut, watch for congruence when people are talking. Look for where a person is engaged and where they are not engaged.

Business Lessons: It’s possible to invest too much money upfront. This puts a huge psychological pressure on what you do. Be thoughtful about debt accumulation. There is a big difference between being a business person and being a doctor. As a business person you need systems setup to track money and set up accounts.

On hiring: Be extremely thoughtful about who you hire (receptionist/assistant). They have to have both attention to details AND a personability/ability to interact with patients. The receptionist is the center of practice – the face and sometimes the heart. It’s important to have someone that represents it well. When starting your practice do everything, so you know what the receptionist needs to do when he/she is eventually hired.

When interviewing he says: Tell me about a difficult situation in your life and how they resolved it. Looking at their eyes and face can tell you a lot. Also, have them alphabetize a group of papers.

Lessons on being a doctor: Never pretend that you know something you don’t. Learn to be truthful and to set yourself aside (your need to be special, etc…). You must learn to focus on someone else besides yourself.

This is just the highlights of a great interview. I’ve listened to it about 5 times now and always come away having learned something. Press play at the top of this post to hear the entire interview.

Btw… This is my first post since graduating from Bastyr. I passed boards and am now fully licensed in the state of Washington as a ND, and am starting a practice in North Carolina where there isn’t licensure yet. Boards are tough, but manageable. Same story with student loans. There are some good repayment plans available where you’ll likely pay little or nothing your first year(s) out. I’ll talk about my experience with those in an upcoming episode.